National News

His boy was shot, covered in a sheet but was still breathing. A Chicago father wants answers

Posted June 20, 2018 4:00 p.m. EDT

— The father of a Chicago teenager among six people hit by gunfire said Wednesday he will put aside grieving until he gets answers as to why his son was covered in a sheet for an extended period when he was still alive.

Eric Carey's son, Erin, died later at a hospital. Officials said paramedics treating him at the scene thought he was dead or mortally wounded.

Bystanders at the scene of the shooting alerted first responders the 17-year-old recent high school graduate appeared to be breathing and moving. Erin Carey died at a hospital hours later.

His father told reporters that first responders dropped the ball on treating his son. He thinks his son, who was shot in the head multiple times, was unattended for 30 minutes, possibly longer, as paramedics treated other people.

According to CNN affiliate WLS, one other person was killed and four people were wounded outside a party in the Near West Side. A WLS camera was at the scene for at least 15 minutes before paramedics took the sheet off the teen and tried CPR.

Carey said he watched video of the emergency response that showed the sheet over his son.

"That could not have been proper procedure," Carey said. "When you walk into a room you assess the situation and you respond to what you see. If they (saw) my son laying there with a gunshot wound to his head you don't throw a sheet over his head and walk to the next person."

Chicago Police First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio told reporters Tuesday that Carey had suffered a "catastrophic injury."

"He was shot in the head. ... I do understand that paramedics looked at him, believed him to be deceased, covered him with that sheet and moved on to another individual who was nearby who was also shot. They saw motion, movement underneath the sheet. Officers who were present notified paramedics."

Carey was eventually taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Eric Carey said a doctor should be the one making the determination whether a person can survive his wounds.

He said he would press people for answers to his questions about why his son wasn't treated and taken sooner to a hospital.

"I need everyone to do their job because I am going to do my job as father and find out what happened," he said, adding he also wants to know why his son was shot.

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Tuesday that detectives were investigating whether Erin Carey may have been involved in the escalation of the shooting incident. A Mac-10 machine pistol was found in the street near Carey's body, he said.

Eric Carey laughed off the suggestion his son would have had a gun.

"What did he need? He didn't need anything?" the father said. His son was lovable and respectful, a teen who mentored others and was working a city internship at a home for seniors. The son also didn't want to disappoint his father, Carey said. He never would carry around a gun.

"He was not designed like that," Carey said.

He said his priority right now was to see his son buried with decency and respect. Then he wants the people who made errors at the shooting scene to be identified and retrained.

Attorney Nenye E. Uche said the response was shameful and Erin Carey could have been saved.

"I think their conduct was not just negligent, was not just reckless, but definitely disgraceful," he said.

Five people were trying to alert paramedics that Carey was still alive, he said. They were begging the first responders to do their jobs, he added.

Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago has said the response by paramedics was under investigation, according to WLS. "We're looking into it right now," he said. "We're trying to piece everything together."

Police were also investigating.

Carey was one of nine people killed in Chicago over the June 15 weekend, police said.

At least 56 people were shot, making it the most violent weekend of the year -- one resembling weekends of the previous two years when murder rates soared. At least 650 people were killed in 2017 and 771 people were killed in 2016, the most violent year in Chicago in 20 years.

Before last weekend, the police department had touted a significant drop in gun-related shootings and killings all year. There have been 15 consecutive months of declining gun violence, according to police.

Through the first five months of this year, there were 229 fewer shootings and 52 fewer killings, representing a 21% drop in gun violence, according to police. In the month of May, police recorded a 21% decline in killings compared to 2017.

But last weekend was the hottest of the year in Chicago, testing the city's ability to control violence when much of the population is outdoors. Temperatures reached close to 100 degrees all weekend and Sunday was the hottest Father's Day in Chicago in 20 years, with a heat index that made it feel like 109 degrees in the city.